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Agnostic Front, Madball Shred Hardcore Family Reunion

At Rockstar Games' Black and Blue Bowl in Brooklyn, hardcore fans young and old brawl in a swirling, bloody mosh pit, and then rejoice in a group hug.

Sean Yeaton // April 7, 2008

Summing up Saturday’s (April 5) Black and Blue Bowl in one word is simple: nuts. Hardcore devotees moshed and kicked at Brooklyn’s Studio B venue from 2 P.M. well in to the early hours of Sunday morning as a 14-band bill unfolded with performances from hardcore legends Agnostic Front, Madball, and Terror, as well as Breakdown, Fahrenheit 451, Backfire, Death Before Dishonor, Bloodclot, Inhuman, and others. And from the first searing notes, the venue bulged at the seams with veteran scenesters and next generation followers alike jumping onstage and tumbling into the crowd.

“Hardcore could be categorized as an extreme sport,” Madball frontman Freddy Cricien told SPIN.com, referring to the New York-bred outfit’s wild show, during which fans trampled each others’ skulls for the chance to share the mic with the tattooed genre stalwart during fave “Get Out!”

Blood-drenched T-shirts and spider web tattoos (19 counted) were a common sight, and by 11 P.M. smashed-up electric guitars and chipped teeth peppered the floor. And, amazingly, one fervent pit wrangler sporting and an AC/DC T-shirt was still standing despite receiving the business end of a pair of combat boots when an eight-foot-tall fan somersaulted off the stage into his face.

Fittingly, then, that the event was sponsored by video game mavericks Rockstar Games to hype the next installment of the Grand Theft Auto saga. The venue’s walls were plastered with faux wanted posters featuring characters from the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV, and each picture could have been any number of the show’s attendees.

“We all live in New York City [the metropolis emulated in the game], and we’ve all stolen cars and we’ve all gotten chased by the cops,” Murphy’s Law frontman and longtime NYHC figurehead Jimmy Gestapo explained to SPIN.com after his band’s performance. “[The game] mimics our lives. It’s a street game and hardcore is street music.”

Finally capping the show with an eardrum-rupturing set, Agnostic Front belted tunes off their 2007 studio album Warriors, such as “For My Family,” as well as grinded out a bevy of older tracks. And on stage, guitarist Vinnie Stigma stuck it to the man, saving a stage-usurping surfer from certain bouncer wrath by offering a look suggesting, “This guy? He’s good people,” returning the towering guard (who certainly had his work cut out for him) to his stoic station stage right.

As the crowd finally poured out of Studio B early Sunday morning, the entire day came into perspective as the same two dudes who were just rabidly reaming each other in the pit united in cathartic embrace. Hardcore: ostensibly animalistic but really not unlike some prison break themed family reunion.

We asked: What’s the worst black and blue you’ve ever received at a hardcore show?

Agnostic Front / Photo by Kristina Grinovich

Agnostic Front / Photo by Kristina Grinovich

Madball / Photo by Kristina Grinovich

Blood Clot / Photo by Kristina Grinovich

Jump on in, the water’s nice! / Photo by Kristina Grinovich